EAC Discovery Park Campus hosts annual MGIO Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

2019 EAC Discovery Park Campus/MGIO Docents pictured: (L to R) Paul Anger, Tawnie Anger, Jokae Lambson, Paul Schulz, Carol Lewis, Martin Ekenes, Terrill Rowley, Anthony Lunt, Exsa Smith, Barbie Lunt, Malia Espinosa, Diane Silva, Michael Espinoza, Debbie Pearson, C.B. Fletcher, Jackie Madsen, Mark Madsen, Bob Gutierrez, John Ratje, Dr. Phil McBride, Bob Hiatt, Dan Faultner [EAC – Submitted photo].

By Paul Anger

THATCHER, Ariz.— EAC’s Discovery Park Campus hosted its annual Docent Appreciation Dinner earlier this month with over 60 in attendance to honor the community volunteers who guide the educational visits to the telescopes at the Mt. Graham International Observatory (MGIO). In attendance were the honorees, college administrators, MGIO telescope operators, the MGIO maintenance crews, United States Forest Service representatives, and the operators of the 20” Telescope at the EAC Discovery Park Campus.

The dinner and recognition ceremony included three special guest speakers. Father Paul Gabor S.J., director of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) shared the latest of the Vatican’s astronomy activities, including the aptly named “HoLiCOW” or (H₀Lenses in COSMOGRAIL’s Wellspring), an exciting independent measure of the Hubble constant to measure the expansion of the universe.

Alyson Ford, assistant director and manager of Radio Telescopes with the University of Arizona Steward Observatory, talked about the Submillimeter Radio Telescope’s (SMT) participating in the Event Horizon Telescope, a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes.

Christian Veillet, director of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), shared a presentation on the amazing history of the LBT, from bare mirrors to the complex array of equipment used in new and projects.

The dinner event celebrated the service of the almost 40 volunteer docents who drive visitors to the top of Mt. Graham and provide detailed, guided tours of each telescope. The educational visits to the telescopes will resume in May of 2020 and continue through October, depending on weather and road conditions. Reservations are currently being taken and available slots are filling quickly. Those interested are advised to make reservations at least three months in advance. For more information visit eac.edu or call (928) 428-6260.

If you are interested in serving as a volunteer for the educational visits to the MGIO telescopes, or as an individual or group at EAC’s Discovery Park Campus, please contact Paul Anger, EACDPC director at (928) 428-6260 or email: discoverypark@eac.edu.